Royal Mail issue warning over fake depot scam - here’s what to look for

Make sure you don't fall victim to the latest scam making the rounds (Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images)

Royal Mail has warned customers about a new depot scam currently targeting customers in the UK.

This is what you need to look out for.

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What’s the scam?

A Twitter user reached out to both the official Royal Mail Twitter account and the Royal Mail Help Twitter account with a screenshot of an email she had received.

The email says that a parcel for her has been stopped at the Royal Mail depot, and that a £2.95 shipping cost has not been paid.

The email says: “If shipping cost is not paid, the package will be returned.”

The user is then instructed to “pay now” and is directed to a link.

Replying to the question, Royal Mail replied: “This isn’t something that’s been sent by us. Please don’t click on any URLs in the message.

“We’re currently investigating this with our security team.”

How to spot a scam

There are a number of ways that you can spot a scam or fake message. Things to look out for include:

  • Checking the ‘from’ address - is it from a company or organisation, or from a random email address? It should be worth noting that scammers often change their names to make the emails look like they’re from a legitimate company, but it’s always worth checking
  • Is the greeting impersonal? Royal Mail says that fraudsters “often use subjects or greetings that are impersonal and general”
  • Is there poor spelling, grammar or presentation? While scammers are getting better at making their messages look more professional, a more common thing to look out for it lack of consistency in the email, like different font styles or sizes, and mismatching logos

If you’re unsure about the message you’ve received in any way, you should always err on the side of caution.

Reach out to the company that is supposedly trying to communicate with you in a way that is completely separate from the message.

Don’t use any phone numbers, email address or linked websites. Instead, search for the company and use a different number or email address, from its website for example.

The Royal Mail has been the target of scammers and fraudsters before, and as such, has compiled helpful advice about staying safe.

Royal Mail says:

  • Never send sensitive, personal information, security details or credit card numbers by email
  • Never click on a link in an email if you are unsure about it, especially if it asks for personal financial information, this might attempt to install malware on to your computer
  • Make sure you have a spam filter on your email account

If you have received any suspicious emails or text messages claiming to be from Royal Mail, you can report them to Royal Mail.

Additionally, you can also report scams to Action Fraud.

For scams in or from Scotland, you should contact Police Scotland on the 101 telephone service.